A Gam of Whales, sometimes called a Humpback, is a group of whales usually not related through family line. The word “hare” is often used in this context, but while family is usually implied, the term is used if family-line is present. In most circumstances, the term refers to a single whale, although pods of whales are occasionally seen. Pods are also different from pods, in that the babies of a pod are generally carried by the mothers for short distances. Pods are rarely found together with their mothers.
While a family-group may be loosely applied to the term “hare”, it has an entirely different meaning in scientific literature. If a pod of whales is considered a collective, it refers to a smaller number of whales with common offspring. Thus, a term such as “the mothers of all whales” applies to a small number of common female whales and so would be considered a collective noun. A larger pod of whales, like a mega-pod or a school, would then be considered a collective noun that denoted a number of closely-allied species with familial relationship to the mother. These would include, but were not limited to, all living relatives of the mother. “Pods” and “hare” may therefore be used synonymously, with each term denoting a smaller number of closely related whales.
There are two broad possibilities for the source of the term “gam of whales”. The first is that the term was adopted from the game of “cheating” (i.e., bailing), and that the term evolved over time as an appropriate description of the behavior of whales. The second possibility is that the term was originally applied to a particular type of dolphin. In any case, the evolution of the term demonstrates that whales are adaptable enough to evolve into anything that catches the interest of their prey. Whether the source of the term was a dolphin or some other large aquatic organism, the evolution of the word indicates that whales are animals that can communicate.
As indicated above, the origin of the word can be traced in part to the habit of white-coated whalers to imitate the appearance of small aquatic organisms such as bottlenose dolphins and heron fish. In the early days, the purpose of these white-coated whales was to befool ships that had been left far away from land. To achieve this end, the whalers painted their sails and rigging with the color of the aquatic organism that they were attempting to fool. Over time, this technique became less useful when the ships eventually reached land. In fact, it was not long before whales began to refer to the entire flotilla as “whales” instead of the specific designation of “white-coated whales.”
Another possibility for the origin of the word comes from the habit of the whalers to hunt porpoises. In fact, many of the first white-coated whales were in fact porpoises. The hunting of these bottom feeders eventually led to the labeling of all white-coated whales with the addition ” Porpoise” to distinguish them from their less aggressive cousin the African whale (which by the way had also begun to be known as the African Sea Whale). This practice did eventually become unacceptable to whalers and led to the original designation of the species being free of any reference to their meat.
While the origin of the word whale has come to relate to the hunt of these massive creatures, there is much more to the name. Whales are one of our most famous species of marine mammals, and there are a great number of different pods of whales. Each pod has different characteristics, personality traits, habits, and geographic locations, and a great deal of effort is placed on trying to identify the different pods within a particular whale group.